Blindness

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

It’s a Friday afternoon and a group of high school students crowd around a computer screen, watching audio levels rise and fall. Behind the window of a recording booth, another student is reading from a children’s book. But the teens aren’t reading directly to a child. They’re creating audiobooks, so blind and visually impaired children can access literature.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are hoping to help pedestrians with disabilities cross intersections more safely.

Their research project makes up the latest phase in the 5-year-old smart traffic signals initiative centered in East Liberty, where wait times for vehicles have been reduced by 40 percent.

In the first year of the project, researchers will focus on building an app that pedestrians could have on their smart phones.

The app would send personalized data about that individual’s movement patterns to a smart traffic signal at an intersection.

National Eye Institute / National Institutes of Health

A new approach to retinal imaging developed at the University of Pittsburgh could lead to earlier diagnoses of eye diseases like glaucoma. The technique provides a detailed picture of the back of the eye, which could help ophthalmologists determine the health of cells essential for vision.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Performing arts organizations in Pittsburgh can now access updated assistance technology to offer to patrons who have hearing or visual disabilities.

The devices are available to any of the organizations that are a part of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and were purchased with a $14,000 grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District.

Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

When Diane Faust started losing her eyesight in 2008 as a result of optic nerve damage, she didn’t know where to turn, but she knew she had two options.

“I could hide in my house the rest of my life, ignore the outside world,” Faust said. “Or, I could try to gain as much of my independence back and get back to as much of a normal life as possible. Those folks have been so instrumental in helping me to do that.”